A SINGAPORE firm has threatened to sue websites that use pictures or graphics to link to another page, claiming it owns the patent for a technology used by millions around the world. In a move that has come under fire from the online community, VueStar Technologies has sent ‘invoices’ to local website operators asking for thousands of dollars in licensing fees …
Doesn’t this violate the fundamental rule about patents being that “the technology cannot be something obvious“?
Using images to link to other websites has been around for ages, goddamnit!
And furthermore – when I was a little kid learning HTML, I figured out how to link to other websites using images all by my tiny self without help from any web tutorials/books/what have yous – that is HOW FUCKING OBVIOUS the concept is!
And that was in 1997, waaaay before this so-called patent even existed.
There is talk that because the duration of the patent is coming to an end, the company is seeking to reap as much benefit they can from the patent by smacking charges on people before the patent officially expires.
Patent troll – that was the term people used. I absolutely agree. Typical, money-minded companies using the umbrella of their patent (and its associated rights and laws) to bully the rest of the online community into feeding their (money) faces.
If THAT is called a patent, then I can also go and patent simple, day by day tasks of walking, breathing and eating. (An annual license of $1000 payable for each action, perhaps?)
And plus, the nutcases who approved that sorry excuse of a patent better go get their heads checked. That patent was approved in 2003. Two FUCKING thousand and THREE. My circle of internet friends back then (plus my fellow bloggers) have been using images to link to other websites long before that. Perhaps even when God was still wearing diapers.
This is what I call the height of ridiculousness. Thank you for putting Singapore on the map for laughing stocks.
Before taking on a project in collaboration with a certain unnamed company, yours truly has to apparently, sign a declaration/agreement form stating that all the products of my hard work during the course of the project will not belong to me, but to the company.
I’m a little miffed about this.
Was told that this is common practice among all companies out there, which further fuels my displeasure of working for any company in the future.
So this is how companies work. They hire (or hold collaborations with) people, squeeze their creative juices out of them until there’s almost none left, force them to sign over all their ideas to the company such that it no longer becomes their own intellectual property, and the people are left high and dry once everything is over.
Forced to keep mum, can’t reuse the same ideas for even their own projects, not even when they rightfully came up with those ideas themselves in the first place.
So this practically means that we slog like hell behind our laptop screens 24/7, plus the potential several all-nighters we “should be expected” to pull – only to have the company have all the recognition while we are left with zilch.
What do we have to show our hard work?
We cannot keep the programming code, graphics or any amazing cool shit we come up with during the project. (Everything belongs to the company, remember?) So when this whole thing blows over, all we have is a blank screen – oh, and perhaps a grade.
One may argue that the knowledge and experience gained during the project far supercedes the final product. But the final product is representative of the hard work, sweat, tears put we put into building it. It’s the hallmark of the project experience; having something solid that you can keep, and occasionally glance at so that you can rekindle that wow, I did that?!? kind of feeling.
Imagine a few years down the road;
“What did you do for your Final Year Project?”
“(Insert vague description here – can’t reveal too much top secret information, remember?)” says I.
“Oh wow, sounds fantastic! Do you have a little preview?”
“Oh yes, I do. Here you do, a blank screen.”
With this particular project my group and I are (most likely going to) delve into, I am very sure that a fair amount of creative juices will be pumped into it (and it’s already brain wrecking enough just to figure out how to prettify this concept further), and I am very much likely to come up with a whole assortment of enhancement ideas during the course of this one.
And everything goes to the company.
Ah well, have to sign the damn form anyway – whether I like it or not. At least we will have a teensy bit of recognition (that is, if you count being referred to as “a student team from SMU” as recognition).
One thing I know for sure – we are definitely allowed to put this in our resume, which will sparkle oh-so brightly especially if we complete this project well, which is the big fat blaring positive reward for this whole thing.
Okay, now to brainstorm for more ideas. (Which will go to the company. :()